|Ministry - Houses Of The Molé
23 June 2004
01. No "W"
05. Warp City
10. Psalm 23 [hidden track]
11. Walrus [hidden track]
Yes. This is a 10 you are seeing in the rating spot above. Now, I was promising myself I would severely limit myself in giving such high scores but what can I do if an album is *really* that good? Believe me, this is not just me being over-enthusiastic, this really is so far the best metal-related release I heard this year.
It seems like Paul Barker's departure was precisely the sort of kick in the rear that Al Jourgensen required. On "Houses..", he sounds re-energized and ready to conquer the world once again. Apparently, the vacated position of main cohort was filled in by none other than the ex-Rigor Mortis axeman Mike Scaccia (who also played on Psalm69). Apparently, the old chemistry between these two guys is back and so is the intensity and immediacy of Psalm69 and the other most famous and revered Ministry records (actually, I think this one is *better* than Psalm69). Scaccia is also known for his extremely fast riffing style and there is plenty of this on "Houses Of The Mole", and I am sure nothing would make the more metal-minded Ministry fans more happy than this. The album also sounds very organic, even though its very sample-heavy. There is also a guitar solo in every single track except for the first one!
The album starts off with samples from Carl Orff's "La Fortuna" but quickly blasts into the thrashy "No W". Fast tempo, distorted vocals, tremolo guitars - this is it! "Waiting" starts off like a Fear Factory song but quickly evolves into an awesome Thieves-style Ministry ass-kicker (this is a highlight of the album). Following these two very metal tracks come two tracks which show the post-punk side of Ministry. "Worthless" has a very memorable Killing Joke-style riff while "Wrong" has a very catchy if somewhat twisted refrain. After this the band goes back to playing more metal - "Warp City" is a great, humorous and slightly gross thrash number. "WTV" is actually part four of the grindcore-meets-industrial "TV" series that Ministry has (TVII appears on Psalm69) although this time the track reminds me more of... old school Swedish Death Metal? (have a listen and tell me what you think of this comparison). The focal point of the album is the hauntingly anthemic "World" (which is also the first time the band slows down on this album - yeah, this Ministry is *fast*). The riff of this track always seems to remind me of a chainsaw ripping flesh. On "WKYJ", the band pulls a filth pig and treats us to an intentionally ugly and off-beat bashing. Finally, "Worm" has to be the best Ministry album-closer yet. Those echoing, ethereal harmonica washes... Al also actually sings (!!!) on this track in a somewhat Bowie-esque manner.
There are also two hidden tracks on the album - "Psalm 23" which is a slightly different version of "No W" (gone is the Carmina Burana sample but instead, there is a really killer solo) and "Walrus" which is a palindrome of a track and is just one hell of a goofy experiment (good luck trying to decipher the lyrics to *that*). As a footnote, I'd just like to add that "Houses..." is not nearly as Bush-heavy as Al Jourgensen was threatening it to be. Indeed, only two tracks can be considered direct attacks at the current US president, while the others are simply commentaries about the general state of things in the world. For me, this is great as otherwise the album would lose its visceral appeal soon after Bush went out of the oval office...
Believe me, this really is one of the best albums Ministry has ever recorded. I am not alone in thinking this - the entire fanbase is just as euphoric as I am. If only the clip to "No W" will be as good as that to 1992's "NWO" (and yes, the similarity of titles is intended) I expect Ministry to become big once again.
Written on 14.06.2004 by
With Metal Storm since 2002, jupitreas has been subjecting the masses to his reviews for quite a while now. He lives in Warsaw, Poland, where he does his best to avoid prosecution for being so cool.